Blow to Samajwadi Party: MP’s PA detained in espionage case
Already in a soup over the bitter Yadav feud, the Samajwadi Party’s image took another blow when its MP Munawwar Saleem sacked his personal assistant Farhat after he was held for supplying official documents to Pakistan High Commission official Mehmood Akhtar.
Farhat, PA of the Rajya Sabha member, was detained recently, sources in the Delhi Crime Branch said. His name came up during the questioning of Akhtar, who was detained on October 27. Akhtar was let off after interrogation within hours owing to his diplomatic immunity and has since been declared “persona non-grata”.
According to CNN-NEWS18 reports, Farhat had transferred “important documents” related to MEA, Defence and shipping ministries for almost two years. For each document he had given, he charged Rs 2 lakh.
It was in 1998 Farhat first came into contact with ISI through a Pakistan High Commission official codenamed ‘NK’. When the bonhomie between them reached a personal level, NK asked him to give reports of the Ministry of Science & Technology, Water Resources and Civil Aviation.
The two others arrested along with Akhtar are Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir. They hail from Nagaur in Rajasthan. Another accused, Shoaib detained in Jodhpur, was brought to Delhi where he was arrested.
Further in-depth investigation revealed that Akhtar joined the ISI in 2013 and ISI gave him training in spycraft in Rawalpindi. During interrogation, Akhtar revealed that he kept close contacts with so many other Indians, including an ISRO official.
Tensions arose when Pakistan expelled a staffer of Indian High Commission in Pakistan as tit-for-tat action for New Delhi’s action against Akhtar. Pakistan clarified the action saying it was for “conduct not in accordance with his diplomatic status”.
Probe by Delhi Police is going to find other members of the spy ring who, they believe, kept close ties with Pakistan.
As usual Pakistan even after their spy being caught red-handed has predictably distanced itself from the drama. It has denied any role in the spy episode.